Everyday Mom's Meals

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Skyline At Home

The first time Alex tasted Skyline Chili it was love at first bite. His dad and him were actually driving back from a field trip in Indianapolis and from that moment on he was obsessed. There was only one problem. We didn't have one here in Fort Wayne. He knew any time that craving hit, the nearest one was 2 hours away. (Yes, he did try the freezer version, and while he liked it, it just wasn't the same.)

Well, that all changed back at the end of this summer. They finally opened one here. Only about 10 minutes from our house. So, in September when he turned 13 and I gave him the choice of any place to out to eat, you know exactly what he chose!!
Just look how happy it makes him! 

But let's face it, with a teenager and a toddler, it really isn't economical to be going out to eat as much as we would like, so once again it was up to me to find a way for him to enjoy it at home. I started researching exactly what made Cincinnati Chili what it is, looked at a ton of different recipes and came up with one that I thought would perfect for us.

If you love this style of chili as much as we do, I think you will be pleased just how close it is to the famous one. If you've never had it, be prepared for a little different style of chili, but still oh so tasty. And yes, to make sure you get the full effect, be sure to serve it over spaghetti...insert drool here!

Crock Pot Cincinnati Chili
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 TBS chili powder
1-2 tsp. hot sauce
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
2 TBS brown sugar
1 c. beef broth
2 dried bay leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooked Spaghetti
Diced Onion
Shredded Cheese
Oyster Crackers

In a large skillet brown beef with garlic. Drain if necessary. Add to Crock Pot. Add tomatoes, vinegar, Worcestershire,  seasonings, brown sugar, beef broth. Stir well. Add bay leaves. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaves. Serve over pasta with toppings. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Southern Inspiration

Today's recipe is going to begin with a disclaimer. I am NOT a Southern cook. I have never nor would I ever claim to be. Sure, I say ya'll and love me some greens, but alas, I am born and bread in Indiana. So, if you consider yourself one, or have been eating your granny from Mississippi's food all your life and know Southern food, and read this and think "that's not Southern"...please keep the hate mail to yourself. This is an interpretation of mine, a born and raised Yankee, just trying to make something new and yummy. 

 I don't care what the weather is doing outside, sometimes I just want foods that are not considered to be "in season." It can be 80 and sunny and I crave a certain soup, or it can be 30 and snowing and I want a big helping of potato salad, which was the inspiration for this. Well, except the weather part. It was actually unseasonably warm the day I made this. 60 in Indiana the last week of November? Yeah, that is odd, but we'll take it. 

When I sat down to plan my menu for the week, I couldn't get the words potato salad out of my head. I just wanted it. Now. And I wanted a new kind. I love the various recipes I have for it. From my Amish style to my Classic to the Loaded filled with bacon, they are all delicious. But I was just in the mood for a new kind. So I started reading, researching and of course Googling. 

After about a thousand recipes I came across a few I wanted to combine into my own creation, with this being the result; and to me it is Southern.

I know a lot of people are gearing up for that big holiday ham, and many serve potato salad with it. See, it's just not for summer! Lots of families are going to sit down next to the twinkling Christmas tree with some sliced ham and big ol' pile of tater salad next to it. If you're one of them, this would be a great version to include!

Southern Potato Salad
32 oz. bag frozen diced potatoes
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 c. mayo
2/3 c. minced sweet pickles*
1/3 c. pickle juice
1 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 TBS dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot cover frozen potatoes with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes. While potatoes cook whisk together mayo, pickle juice, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside. Once potatoes are cooked, drain well and add to a large bowl. DO NOT RINSE Mash slightly with a potato masher, leaving some chunks. Mix in pickles and eggs. Add dressing and mix well. Chill several hours before serving. *NOTE* The BEST way to get the pickles minced is to chop and then add to a food processor and pulse a couple times. You want them fine. Also, the potatoes will be warm when you mix everything, so when you add the dressing, it might look too wet and "soupy". That's okay. It will set up in the fridge. You want the potatoes warm because it absorbs the dressing.

Inspired by Southern Plate

Monday, November 27, 2017

It's The Most Wonderful Time of Year

Another Turkey Day is in the books. I hope yours was tasty and filled with love and blessings. 

But now, without further adieu...it is time for my most favorite time of year. I absolutely love Christmas. The entire season. Everything about it. Always have. But now with my boys, it is even more magical. Plus, I've passed that love onto both of them, so it's a terrific thing to see my excitement in them too. And you know with a 15 month old in the house, ours will be even more special this year.

I realize for many it is a very stressful time of year, and I respect that. But for me, I try really hard to prepare so I can truly enjoy every minute. All of my presents are bought and wrapped. I'm currently working on Christmas Cards and they will be ready to go before long. I have menus written out so I know exactly what I need to make and when. I know, I know. How they heck do I stay that organized? I don't know. It's just in my blood I guess. My mom has been done shopping since September! 

One way I can pass a little of that organization onto all of you is to have some holiday inspired recipes ready to go for you to turn to when you're ready to start planning your menu. 

Who doesn't love a great "fluff" salad? They are always a huge hit, and there seem to be a million varieties out there. So why should this one make an appearance during your Christmas celebration? Two reasons really. 1. The color & flavor. Red and cherry just say holidays. 2. It has to be made the night before! So it can be chilling in the fridge, waiting on you! Make ahead dishes are always a welcomed friend during busy holiday meals. 

Even if you aren't a total Christmas fanatic like me, I do hope you can find some magic and joy in the hustle and bustle of the season. Don't blink..it will be over before we know it!

Cherry Fluff
2 boxes cream cheese, softened
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 (10 oz.) jar maraschino cherries, drained, cut in half, juice reserved
2 heaping cups mini marshmallows
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip

In a large bowl beat cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy. Add cherry juice. Beat a few more times to mix. Add pineapple and cherries. Mix well with a spatula. Fold in marshmallows and Cool Whip. Cover. Chill overnight.

Shared at Weekend Potluck

Monday, November 13, 2017

Holiday House Guests...Not For Just a Day

Are you hosting a holiday this year? Rather it be Thanksgiving or Christmas, are you going to have house guests for a little while? If so, I'm going to be your new BFF. 

I will be honest, we have never had overnight house guests. Now, before you think I'm super weird, you have to understand a couple things. First off, we have a 3 bedroom house. You can do the math. And even before Max came, his room was an office/junk room. Secondly, we live 20 minutes from both of our parents. So when family comes into town, they always stay with them. See, it isn't as strange as you thought. 

But some of my best memories as a kid were big holiday at m grandparent's house with everyone home. Adults in the beds, kids on the floor. An entire house full...for a few days! Oh, the fun we had! God bless Grammy for feeding all of us for that long!

Anytime I think about holiday house guests the image of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation enters my mind. If you've seen the movie, you know where I'm going with this. Both sets of parents, cousins, aunts, uncles...and then of course Cousin Eddie shows up. The house is over flowing, everyone is stressed out, and then Eddie makes the comment they will be staying right on through to the New Year. 

My point is that if you've got people staying, the big holiday meals isn't the only time you have to feed them. No, you have to plan for 3 meals a day, for as long as they are there! You need some great, easy recipes up your sleeve! 

These would be perfect for a simple breakfast, or dessert. Seriously, you can serve them for either and they will disappear. I made them for a post dinner treat, and then the leftovers were heated up for breakfast the next day. 

If you love the original version, this mini, simple, quick version will knock your socks off! 

Holiday house guests are coming. Quicker than some of you might be ready for. But take a deep breath and relax. That's what the holidays are all about. Being surrounded by the people you love most in the world, making memories to last a lifetime. 

Mini Monkey Bread
2 (7.5 oz) cans refrigerated cans biscuits
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12 count muffin tin. Separate biscuits. Cut each into 6 pieces. (You need 120 pieces total) In a large plastic bag, combine white sugar and cinnamon. In a medium bowl whisk together brown sugar and butter. Spoon 1 TBS butter mixture into each well of muffin tin. Place biscuit pieces in bag and shake well to coat. (This might take a few batches to avoid sticking) Place 10 biscuit pieces in each well. Press gently to adhere. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and set. Cool for 1 minute. Either turn upside down, or carefully slide out with a spatula. 

Recipe Inspired by Pillsbury

Monday, October 23, 2017

Turkey Day Plan

One. Month. People.

Have you looked at the calendar to even realize what I'm referring to? Yes...that's right, the biggest foodie day of the year is only 4 weeks away! Thanksgiving 2017 is coming and coming fast!

Now, I know for many of you, it isn't even a blip on your radar yet, and you're saying "EMM...I am not even ready to start planning yet, don't rush me." And that is okay. But I am a planner...big time. So, if I were hosting I would already be coming up with a menu, making shopping lists and marking days on the calendar for prep. I know I can't be the only one, so this is for you!

For so many of us big holiday meals are filled with family favorites. Those dishes that show up every year, and everyone looks forward to. But I also know many like to add new things to keep it new and exciting.

To me, the side dishes are the easiest to experiment with. You can still have all the ones everyone craves, but add in a couple newbies too. If you're planning on making a couple veggies anyway, why not something delicious, simple and unique?

We loved these SO much! And since I don't host Thanksgiving, they will become part of our regular dinner rotation...yes, that's how easy they are! Plus, I love the colors...like fall in a bowl!

If you're already planning your Turkey Day Table, I salute you! If you are a "wait until the last minute" host, that is okay too..just remember to come back in a few weeks!

Roasted Carrots and Mushrooms
1 lb. baby carrots, patted dry
8 oz. white button mushrooms*
1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce 
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 10x15 baking dish. Place carrots, mushrooms and onion in dish. In a small bowl whisk together butter, Worcestershire and garlic. Pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat. Bake for 45-60 minutes until carrots are tender* stirring occasionally.  *NOTES* If you have mushroom lovers, add more! I will next time I make them, because we were fighting over them. We like our carrots crisp tender, so I pulled mine after 45 minutes.